Blog
Dont Get Hung Up: Understanding Single- and Double-Hung Windows

Dont Get Hung Up: Understanding Single- and Double-Hung Windows

When you are ready to start replacing home windows, homeowners consider a number of factors: Price, style and energy efficiency, just to name a few. But before looking at features, styles and installation requirements, it helps to understand the most frequent types of windows available for replacement.

Among the most common window frame types are single-hung and double-hung. While these two historically popular frame styles offer many similarities, looking at how they have different uses can go a long way toward helping you determine which one is a good solution for your house.

What Does Single- or Double-Hung Mean?

Many customers hear “single- or double-hung window” and mistake these window lines with single- and double-pane glass windows. Adding to the confusion, single-hung and double-hung windows both include an upper and lower sash. It’s a similar design structure that makes the two window types almost identical from the outside.

However, the two are not the same. “Hung” is a window term that reflects the number of operable window sashes. On a single-hung window, only the lower sash moves. Double-hung windows, by comparison, allow movement in both the upper and lower sashes. With that in mind, homeowners may find that one window type works better for their design and budgets better than the other, even though they look the same.

Some reasons to choose a single-hung window

An enduring style, single-hung windows have been the standard window selection used in newer home builds, apartment buildings and commercial spaces. Single-hung windows bring both a cost-effective choice for a replacement window, and one that continues to be appealing in homes all over the country.

Since the upper sash is fixed on single-hung windows, installing a single-hung window can also make construction work more convenient, since there are fewer moving parts.

Single-hung windows are a great selection for homeowners who want:

  • A cost-effective choice for multiple windows
  • A traditional, historic look
  • A stress-free option for first-floor window replacement or in houses where windows are close to the ground

Some reasons to choose a double-hung window

The moveable second sash on a double-hung window creates more flexibility for rooms.

Features such as tilt-in (also called tilt-out) design allows reaching the outside of double-hung windows from inside the house. When operating single-hung windows, the lower sash most often moves only vertically, getting in the way of the upper sash. This can create problems when cleaning the glass on single-hung windows. In some homes, that hassle can become dangerous when cleaning the outside of the upper sash from inside.

Reaching the outside of windows at ground level is one thing but reaching an upper-level window can be an entirely different scenario. While a handful of single-hung windows have a tilt-in, or removable lower sash, the adjustable second sash on double-hung windows allows much safer cleaning, especially for windows on upper floors.

Allowing for multiple sashes to be opened makes double-hung windows a smart choice for rooms that need increased ventilation. With hot, damp air in the bathroom, for example, reduced ventilation can lead to issues with humidity and moisture. Left ignored, that lack of fresh air can mean increased odor issues and even mildew growth. Opening the two sashes of a double-hung window can help cool off warm, humid areas and keep moisture out of your walls.

Double-hung windows also offer a unique alternative to single-hung windows when considering window maintenance. Since it is stationary, repairing the upper sash on a single-hung window ends in a visit from a glass repairman. However, since many double-hung windows have a removable upper sash, homeowners can replace their window sash without the inconvenience of waiting for a glass repair job.

For these reasons, double-hung windows are a good selection for homes that:

  • Have more than one story
  • Deal with ventilation issues
  • Highlight an architectural style that traditionally requires double-hung windows in their designs, such as Colonial, Cape Cod, Craftsman or Victorian homes

  Single-Hung Windows Double-Hung Windows
# of Operable Sashes 1 2
Cleaning Difficult to clean the exterior of the top sash since it does not tilt in. Tougher to clean for those living on an upper floor. Easier to clean since both windows can be tilted to wash inside and outside surfaces. Both sashes can be cleaned from the inside of the house.
Ventilation Bottom sash can open to let air in. Both sashes can open to let cool, fresh air in through the bottom and release warm air through the top.
Style Similar design options Similar design options
Cost

 
What’s the difference in installation costs?

A number of features and options go into determining the final cost of replacing your home windows. Everything from the material and added features to your region of the country and style of window can impact] the ultimate price.

Historically, single-hung windows have been seen as less expensive (and, as a result, often more popular) due to their frequent use in new home construction. However, the longtime benefits of selecting double-hung windows should be acknowledged.

While some impacts, such as reduced mildew levels from improved ventilation and architectural style can be quantified over time, it’s difficult to put a price on the convenience of flexible cleaning options and greater safety for children that come with double-hung windows.

Here are some of the factors that can impact just how much you spend on your window replacement:

  • Style
  • Material
  • Features and options
  • Number of windows needed
  • Installation
  • Warranty
  • Location of home

While doing the job on your own may seem like a save on costs, consider consulting with a Pella® professional to help choose the window that best meets your needs, design and budget. They’ll not only help you find the right window, but provide you with the proper know-how to get your new windows installed properly.

Call or stop by your local Pella Windows and Doors showroom or contact us online to set up a free, no-cost, in-home consultation to discuss how you can get started on your window replacement project.

Back to Blog
Live Chat
I can help with your window or door replacement questions.